I was dressed as a princess playing with my dragons and castles and in the background, I could hear the sound of pans and silverware, coming from the kitchen. Just during the fight between the prince and the dragon, my mom came to ask me to wash my hands. "Dinner is ready", she said. She didn’t understand that the fight was too intense to be paused, but then the smell of my favorite dish hit me. The fight would have to wait.
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. That’s the same familiar smell again, but this time I’m the one preparing the meal while my daughters are making their own memories.
Though the similarities between our childhood are there, raising a child isn’t the same. Common sense isn’t always that common. New methods of education come and go daily claiming to be the best way to raise smart, strong and successful children. We now have access to so much information that it makes us blind to what is right in front of us. While I fight to find the balance between everything I want to teach them: how to take care of themselves, how to be brave and face the world when I’m not around, they surprise me with my own experiences buried in my memory.
I will always remember my mom saying that we raise children for the world, not for ourselves. It took me a while to understand what she actually meant. But now while I see my daughters spreading their wings to learn to fly, I understand.
As scary and fascinating it is to watch, that’s how I know I’ve accomplished something bigger than myself. I guide my daughters, respecting their pace. They know this is home, where they are always safe to be who they are, to dance, sing, tell their stories, imagine and face their first few dragons. The memories they create here will be with them for their lifetime, and that’s the foundation they need.
That’s my gift for them.
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--- Special thanks to Sarah and her daughters for being the best! ---